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August Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?

Embrace your birth month with the enchanting beauty of your unique birth flower

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You may wonder what the August birth flower is: August has two birth flowers:  the Gladiolus and the Poppy.

Why Are There Two Birth Flowers in August?

There are two birth flowers in August—gladiolus and poppy—to provide variety and options for individuals to associate with their birth month. The tradition of assigning flowers to specific months has evolved over time, with various cultures having their own lists of flowers for each month. As these lists merged and evolved, multiple flowers became associated with some months, including August.

Having two birth flowers for August allows people to choose the flower that they feel a stronger connection with or prefer based on appearance, meaning, or symbolism. The gladiolus symbolizes strength, integrity, and perseverance, while the poppy represents remembrance, imagination, and consolation. These different meanings offer individuals a range of symbolic associations to connect with.

Additionally, the availability of both flowers might vary by region or time of year. Having two options ensures that at least one of the birth flowers is more likely to be available for gifting or personal enjoyment.

August Primary Birth Flower: Gladiolus

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Gladiolus has a rich history and carries various symbolic meanings. These striking flowering plants have been cultivated for centuries for their beauty, uses, and significance. There are more than 260 species of gladiolus, with over 10,000 registered cultivars.

Description: Gladiolus, also known as sword lily, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the Iridaceae family. It is known for its tall, erect spikes of colorful, funnel-shaped flowers and long, sword-like leaves.

Growth habit: Gladiolus grows from corms, which are underground storage organs similar to bulbs. The plants produce tall, unbranched stems that can reach heights of 2-6 feet (60-180 cm), depending on the variety.

Flowers: Gladiolus flowers come in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, and white. The flowers are arranged along one side of the tall spike, which can hold up to 40 blooms.

Blooming season: Gladiolus typically blooms in summer, depending on the planting time and variety.

Hardiness: Gladiolus is a tender perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 8-10, although some varieties can be planted in colder areas if the corms are lifted and stored during the winter.

Sunlight and soil: Gladiolus prefers full sun and well-draining, fertile soil.

Garden uses: Gladiolus is popular in mixed borders, cutting gardens, and as a focal point in beds and containers due to its dramatic height and vibrant colors.

History: Gladiolus has a long history dating back to ancient Rome, where the flowers were associated with gladiators. The flowers were often presented to victorious gladiators as a symbol of strength and victory. The plant’s name is derived from the Latin word “gladius,” meaning sword, which refers to its sword-like leaves.

Africa: Gladiolus is native to South Africa, where it has been used for both ornamental and culinary purposes. Some species of gladiolus are still used as a food source in parts of Africa, where the flowers are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Europe: Gladiolus was introduced to Europe in the late 16th century and gained popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries. The plants were extensively hybridized during this period, resulting in the many vibrant cultivars we see today.

Meaning: Some common meanings associated with gladiolus include:

  • Strength and integrity: The tall, upright spikes of gladiolus flowers symbolize strength, integrity, and perseverance. This association with strength is linked to the plant’s history with gladiators in ancient Rome.
  • Remembrance: Gladiolus is often used in floral arrangements for funerals and memorial services as a symbol of remembrance and tribute to the deceased. The enduring beauty of the flowers represents the lasting memories of a loved one.
  • Infatuation and admiration: Giving gladiolus flowers can express infatuation or admiration for someone. The flowers are said to pierce the recipient’s heart with their beauty, representing a deep and passionate connection.

Throughout history, gladiolus has been admired for its stunning appearance, rich symbolism, and various uses. Today, it continues to be a popular and meaningful choice for gardens and floral arrangements, symbolizing strength, remembrance, and admiration.

Why it has been selected: Gladiolus has been selected and cultivated for its striking appearance, rich history, and symbolism. Its dramatic height, vibrant colors, and various meanings make it a popular and meaningful addition to gardens and floral arrangements.

Fun fact: Gladiolus corms can be planted in succession to extend the blooming season throughout the summer and early fall.

August Secondary Birth Flower: Poppy

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Poppies have a long history and carry various meanings across different cultures. They are admired for their beauty, as well as their culinary and medicinal properties.

Description: Poppies are flowering plants belonging to the Papaveraceae family. They are known for their vibrant, delicate flowers and attractive foliage. Poppies come in various colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and white.

Growth habit: Poppies are annual, biennial, or perennial plants, depending on the species. They typically have erect, branching stems and grow to a height of 1-4 feet (30-120 cm), depending on the variety.

Flowers: Poppy flowers have four to six petals, which are often crinkled or crepe-like in texture. The flowers can be single, semi-double, or double, with a dark center that contains a mass of stamens. Some poppies also have a dark blotch at the base of each petal.

Blooming season: Poppies generally bloom from late spring to early summer, although the specific blooming period may vary depending on the species and climate.

Hardiness: The hardiness of poppies varies depending on the species. For example, Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) are hardy in USDA zones 3-8, while California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are hardy in USDA zones 8-10.

Sunlight and soil: Poppies prefer full sun and well-draining soil.

Garden uses: Poppies are popular in mixed borders, wildflower meadows, rock gardens, and as cut flowers. They add a splash of color and texture to any garden setting.

History: Poppies have been cultivated since ancient times. They were known in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, where they were associated with sleep, death, and resurrection. The ancient Greeks often depicted poppies on their pottery, and the goddess Demeter, associated with agriculture and fertility, was sometimes portrayed wearing a crown of poppies.

Opium poppy: The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) has a long history of use for its medicinal properties. It has been cultivated for thousands of years for the production of opium, a powerful narcotic used for pain relief and sedation. The use of opium can be traced back to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia around 3400 BCE.

Remembrance: In modern times, the red poppy has become a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in the war. This association was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian soldier John McCrae, written during World War I. The poem describes the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers, leading to the adoption of the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance and tribute.

Meaning: Some common meanings associated with poppies include:

  • Remembrance: The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance, particularly for those who have died in the war. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers and the importance of peace.
  • Sleep, death, and resurrection: Poppies have long been associated with sleep and death due to their sedative properties. The flowers close at night and reopen in the morning, appearing to “die” and “resurrect” each day, further reinforcing this symbolism.
  • Imagination and dreams: Poppies, especially the opium poppy, have been linked to dreams and imagination because of their sedative effects. They can represent the creative and imaginative aspects of the human mind.
  • Consolation and sympathy: Poppies can symbolize consolation and sympathy, as they are often given to those who are grieving or experiencing loss.

Why they have been selected: Poppies have been selected and cultivated for their vibrant colors, delicate beauty, and rich symbolism. They make a meaningful addition to gardens and floral arrangements, symbolizing remembrance, imagination, and consolation.

Fun facts: The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties, including pain relief and sedation.  Poppy seeds are edible and are used in various culinary dishes, such as bread, pastries, and salad dressings.

Discover more flowers for your home or garden with our Plant Finder

Guide Information

Plant Type Annuals, Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Gladiolus, Papaver

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

December Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
November Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
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Birth Month Flowers: What is my Birth Flower?
January Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
February Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
March Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
April Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
May Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
June Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
July Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
September Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?

Garden Examples

A Casual and Impressionistic Planting Combination
An Eye-Catching Border Idea with Allium, Aquilegia and Papaver
An Eye-Catching Spring Border with Irises, Foxgloves and Poppies
A Casual Border with Poppies, Tickseed and Mullein
An Impressive Planting Combination with Alliums, Poppies and Sage
A Pretty Summer Border with Roses, Foxgloves and Poppies
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Annuals, Bulbs, Perennials
Genus Gladiolus, Papaver
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Gladiolus (Sword Lily) Papaver (Poppy)

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